Maybe the second time will be the charm.The Nordstrom family started exploring the possibility of taking Nordstrom Inc. private last summer and partnered with buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners, only to suspend the process in October as the holidays drew near and worries about retail multiplied.But now, they’re back at it, evaluating financing proposals from banks and sources said they could fare better with Christmas sales across retail coming in stronger than many feared. Nordstrom ran with or ahead of the pack over the holidays, with its net sales up 2.5 percent.“The numbers were OK,” said one financial source. “I think it helped that the entire sector didn’t blow up. All the banks submitted updated financing packages [the week of Feb. 19].”That makes this a key period when the financing will be scrutinized and the path forward could become much more clear. Nordstrom is set to report fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday.Shares of Nordstrom jumped 6.5 percent to $53.56 Friday after WWD reported the process was drawing to a close.Nordstrom has an enterprise value of $10.4 billion, including $8.4 billion in company shares and total debt of $2.7 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ.The company is said to be able to hold as much as $7 billion worth of debt, but the greater the debt load and the higher the interest payments, the harder it will for the retailer to dig itself out.Nordstrom is generally seen as the most likely to succeed out of the department store bunch, with a premium stance, a strong customer service ethos, more than $15 billion in sales and a manageable debt load.Being private would help the company more-readily experiment with new ideas, like the Nordstrom Local concept in West Hollywood that carries no inventory, or bold moves, like its still-to-come New York flagship.The management team is known to be among the most forward thinking of the big retailers and have been trying to lean in to the future, for instance, buying HauteLook and Trunk Club, although with mixed results.Clearly, more changes afoot and the company wants to be ready.At the WWD CEO Summit in October, copresident Pete Nordstrom, noted: “About 26 percent of all business we do is online. I think it’s reasonable to assume we will probably be doing half of our business online in the next five years or so. It’s growing at that kind of rate.”But the dangers of too much debt are all too clear in retailing.Luxe department store Neiman Marcus, the subject of two consecutive private equity buyouts, has worked mightily to manage its $4.8 billion debt load. And the more mainstream department store Bon-Ton Stores Inc. succumbed to bankruptcy this month after a long struggle.The space between having the flexibility to move with the times and the ability to manage the debt load is the line the Nordstrom’s will have to walk.Making that judgment will be the extended Nordstrom clan, including copresidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom, and Erik Nordstrom, president of stores James Nordstrom, chairman emeritus Bruce Nordstrom, and Anne E. Gittinger. Together they control just under one-third of the retailer’s stock.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion